Tip #27 to Get a Top ACT English Reading Science Score (page 3)
I told you that the correct answer will usually be a paraphrase of something directly stated in the passage. Sometimes they ask you to do the paraphrasing. They might ask, "Which of the following paraphrases line 31?" or "The author's reaction to _____ would most likely be..."
SOCIAL SCIENCE: This passage is adopted from the essay "Derrida and Levi-Strauss" by David Rice. Jacques Derrida was a philosopher who lived from 1930 to 2004. Claude Levi-Strauss is a French social anthropologist.
Jacques Derrida's aim in Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences (1978), was not to reveal or explicate something true, or even reasonable, but to put on a performance, a play, a series of elaborate and intriguing games which ruminate on the mind's inability either to think without imagining a center or to believe that one exists.
Claude Levi-Strauss revealed a series of elemental contradictions while plumbing the depths of mythic thought, hoping to arrange his findings coherently, as his Overture to The Raw and the Cooked (1964) promised, but he tried to work through or past them. Derrida, revisiting these contradictions, works with them, celebrating rather than trying to resolve their tension. Thus the most salient difference between structuralism and poststructuralism is a greater sense of self- importance in the prior, and a greater sense of self- deprecating humor in the latter.
As a poststructuralist, Derrida criticized Levi-Strauss in order to criticize himself and his ambiguous position as an intellectual in an age that both demands and disdains intellectualism, miring in a struggle to get beyond language while growing ever more certain that language is all there is.
- Which of the following questions is NOT answered in the passage?
- Has Levi-Strauss published his ideas?
- What is a difference between Derrida and Levi-Strauss?
- Has Derrida commented on Levi-Strauss' writings?
- What languages has Derrida learned?
- According to the first paragraph, which of the following statements would the author most likely make with regard to Derrida?
- Derrida sought absolute truth.
- Derrida sought clear understanding.
- Derrida sought to explore.
- Thinking was difficult for Derrida.
- Which of the following statements best paraphrases lines 14 to 17 ("Derrida revisiting…tension.")?
- Whereas Derrida embraced flawed reality, Levi-Strauss tried to fix it.
- Levi-Strauss missed the point and Derrida got it.
- Contradictions bothered Derrida more than they bothered Levi-Strauss.
- Resolution was more important to Derrida that it was to Levi-Strauss.
- The contrast between accepting and trying to change something is best exemplified by which of the following quotations from the passage?
- "reveal or explicate something true"
- "think without imagining"
- "celebrating rather than trying to resolve"
- "demands and disdains intellectualism"
- D Refer to your circled key words or scan the passage to locate these answers in the passage. The second paragraph is about Levi-Strauss and mentions one of his publications and compares him to Derrida. The third paragraph tells that Derrida criticized Levi-Strauss. Choice D is correct—we have not been told what languages Derrida has learned.
- H The first paragraph states that Derrida sought "not to reveal… something true…but to…ruminate on… " So he did not seek absolute truth or clear understanding, but an exploration.
- A The lines state that Levi-Strauss tried to work past the contradictions, whereas Derrida works with them, celebrating rather than trying to resolve their tension. In other words, Levi- Strauss wanted a solution, whereas Derrida was comfortable with the contradictions. So choice A is the best paraphrase.
- H This question is similar to question 3. "Celebrating rather than trying to resolve" is a paraphrase for "accepting versus trying to change."
Go to: Tip #28
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